Will Thomas, an eight-year Air Force veteran, said the military was instrumental in him finding direction and key to sparking his growth as a man and worker.
The three core values of the Air Force have become words to live by, he said, and modeling his life after those principles has resulted in the success he’s had so far and the joy he’s found in his life.
“For me, the military was great in the sense that it got me away during my young and dumb days,” Thomas said. “It’s kind of cliché, but it’s Integrity First, Service Before Self, and Excellence in All We Do. And while I was in the Air Force, and even after, I’ve really tried to mold everything I do around those. If you really break down those three, it’s a great foundation.”
Thomas’ grandfather was in the military, but that was before Thomas ever thought of enlisting. So, he didn’t really have a good idea about what it meant to be a veteran or truly appreciate veterans.
As a stateside serviceman, Thomas hasn’t seen combat. But he has seen a lot. Getting a firsthand look at how different parts of the country interact has broadened his perspective of the world.
“The military did give me the ability to travel to a lot of different states in my eight years in. I think it’s just given me a different perspective and given me more of a worldly view to where I can relate to so many different people, so many different races and different situations, which has helped me tremendously in life,” Thomas said.
One of the areas this experience has translated well is in his career in real estate. Thomas works with Remax Realty One and said meeting new people from all different walks of life each day has felt comfortable to him, and he attributed his military travel for that. Nothing really surprises him anymore.
“I am a big advocate of the military. I think it changed my life tremendously for the better. I think if I didn’t go into the military, me sitting here would not be the same person. My oldest son is 20 years old; he is in the Air Force, and he is coming up on two years. He went right after high school, so I’m obviously a big advocate of it. I think it’s a great thing to build that foundation and have a little bit of structure in those years of 18 to 22 where your life changes drastically,” Thomas said.
His youngest son is 17 and is planning to join as well, he said. His family has been a blessing and was part of the reason he got out of the military.
During his time in the service, he volunteered for four deployments. He came close to actually going with one of them, completed all the training leading up to it, before it was confirmed he would not be going.
“Would my opinion change if I had seen battle? Man, that’s hard to say. It really is,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen the effects of it on people, and I would like to say that it wouldn’t affect me negatively. But until you’re in that situation and you’ve walked in those boots, I think it’s hard to, even in my shoes of being active duty military for eight years, to have a perspective of what they have gone through and experienced overseas.”
In real estate, Thomas said he enjoys finding people homes. He wants to give a similar experience to the happiness and love in his own house.
“I just know the memories that are made in my house, my home. When I’m able to give that to someone else and think about raising their kids, or grandkids coming over and playing in the backyard, those types of things make it really fun for me,” Thomas said.
Thomas developed a program called “Going 50/50 with Those Who Are Willing to Give 100” in which half of his commission on transactions to military families is distributed to charities to support military men and women.
To get involved, veterans can fill out a survey to see if they are eligible. More information can be found at 5050withveterans.com.